A motorist ordered out of his car at gunpoint joined forces with a passing bin lorry crew to disarm the would-be carjacker and pin him to the ground.
Barry Storey said the man approached his vehicle in Hedon in East Yorkshire, screaming at him to get out.
But the attacker was unable to start the car and escape before crew from the lorry helped wrestle him to the ground.
A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and remains in custody.
Humberside Police said it was investigating four reports of aggravated vehicle thefts, including a postal van, by two men believed to be carrying imitation firearms at various locations in Hull and East Yorkshire.
Mr Storey said: "I was in my car waiting in the traffic and a guy came over to me with a gun pointing at me screaming for me to get out of the car.
"So I did after a while and he got in but couldn't take the car away because it's an automatic. He didn't know how to drive it so he was just revving high.
"As he got out the car again the bin lorry had come past to try and block him in, and he flung open the door and the lorry took the door off.
"As he did that six or seven of us jumped on him and held him there until the police came."
Mr Storey said he was "a bit shaken" following the incident.
Care worker Carrie Gardner said she helped tackle the man.
"A woman ran across and then I ran across and the next thing I know we're all piling on him on the floor," she said.
"I just think I did what anyone would do.
"Everyone rallied round, everyone that was walking around and in their cars everyone jumped out. Everyone was really good."
Bin man Richard Gawkroger said he had seen the man approach Mr Storey's car with the weapon before a passer-by ran over to help.
"Our driver pulled the wagon in front of the car to stop it from moving and me and a co-worker jumped out and helped wrestle the guy to the ground," he said.
'Beyond the call of duty'
"It was just adrenalin. We saw somebody with a gun threatening somebody so we just jumped out to help them.
"There was about six of us holding him down. Somebody kicked the gun under another car."
East Riding of Yorkshire Council has praised the bin crew for "their heroic actions".
Conservative councillor Symon Fraser said: "I'm extremely proud of the actions of these three bin men who went above and beyond the call of duty to help in a potentially dangerous situation, along with other people at the scene."
Officers were also at the Dairycoates Inn, at the corner of Hawthorn Avenue and Hessle Road, in Hull, where a Royal Mail vehicle was abandoned.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said the van had been "involved in an aggravated vehicle theft".
"Fortunately the postman was unharmed, although extremely shaken," she said.
"There was no mail in the vehicle at the time."
Det Supt Grainne Casey said the force wanted to "reassure" people that there was no danger to the public.
"Offences like aggravated car thefts are rare, let alone a run of incidents over such a short period of time," she said.
"Given the exceptional circumstances of the incident and operational necessity, we have not been able to disclose as many details as the public would have liked in order to feel reassured. However, I hope they understand the reasons."